Tusting talks… to Richard Coleman

Ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend, we spoke to a Tusting customer whose work is deeply involved in the Formula 1 industry. With a career that has been interwoven through the world of motorsport, Richard Coleman revealed how starting as an engineering apprentice was the ideal base for a life in world championship racing, how there’s nothing like competition to motivate him, and who he’s rooting for this F1 season.

A Career on The Grid

Never not around the world of motorsport, Richard joined the Mitsubishi World Rally Championships team when he left school at 16 to do an engineering apprenticeship, a dream job for a young lad crazy about motorsport and which enabled him to travel the world and get paid whilst learning. From there, he moved into the World Touring Car Championships (WTCC) with Chevrolet and remarkably, whilst still in his 20s, started his own WTCC race team from scratch. Gaining a lot of success with the WTCC team, working with other teams followed, including a Formula 3 team, a World Endurance team and a GT team in Asia. Richard’s 20s were thus a busy time, operating race teams around the world, whilst continuously lying about his extraordinarily young age in order to be taken seriously!

Richard remembers it as a wonderful time with great rewards but with a lot of financial risk along the way. Finding that his engineering background allowed him to easily recognise and hire great engineers and drivers, the financial side was not so easy. “When you run your own business, you have to quickly become good at the things you’re not good at”, he says, referring to the difficulty in finding anyone to help secure sponsors and investors for the teams and having to figure out how to get the job done himself.

Enter Mayfield Sports Management, the agency he founded having started to hone the appropriate deal-broking skills for his own purposes. The agency was born out of the necessity to find sponsorship deals but he quickly realised that whilst even a top engineer can make only a marginal difference to the performance of a car, a much larger budget can have a significant impact on a team’s results through purchasing power for better drivers, engines and equipment, allowing him to clearly influence the team’s performance by bringing in commercial deals.

Since the agency launched, Mayfield has developed its motorsport niche and is heavily involved in all aspects of the Formula 1 world, brokering sponsorship deals for organising bodies, teams and individual drivers as well as now reaching further afield into football, tennis, cycling, cricket and various other sports. Whilst it is based at the absolute heart of F1, Silverstone, where eight out of the ten F1 teams are based, and much of the supply chain is found, the agency also works in event management, and Richard undertakes general commercial consulting including sitting on the board of the European Rugby League.

Having worked so directly with championship teams, what is Richard’s favourite element of the sport?

Competition. Richard confesses to being the type of guy that will pack at the last possible moment to go to the airport because he needs that little rush of being late, and he believes that competition is a beautiful way to motivate yourself 365 days a year. Lately, he has returned to race-driving in the Historic Formula Ford 2000 Championship series and is currently lying third in the drivers’ championship, with his next outing at the iconic Brand Hatch circuit.

“You don’t realise how much of a motivator competition is until it’s not an element in your day-to-day life any more. It’s why I’ve returned to racing myself to get that fix!”

Being so competitive, how well does he cope with failure?

“Within sport, when you win, you have to consciously try and learn because everything feels a little easy if you’re winning. Yet when you fail, you’re naturally very analytical about what happened and the failures are what teach you what to do. Most of us in life, business and sport will fail, but the important thing is to learn from our failures. The even harder discipline is to try and also learn when you win – humility is a big part of that.”

It’s the Silverstone Grand Prix this weekend, who would take Richard’s bets for winning?

Richard thinks it’s impossible to look beyond Max Verstappen (who starts in pole position) –  the car, the package and the team have done so well this year that he is way ahead of the competition so it’s hard to look beyond him, so definitely he’d be odds-on favourite to win.

Aside from Max, Richard knows Brits love a home win, so George Russel and Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes will hopefully be able to produce a result.

How does Richard decompress?

Understandably, Richard doesn’t have a lot of time left after the demands of his business and historic racing adventures, but, he says, getting a personal trainer has been a game changer for him. Needing to raise his fitness level for the racing but confessing to being the guy full of excuses when it comes to exercising (something many of us can identify with!) he has found having a trainer has really helped him show up and be accountable.

Finding that as he’s got older he’s far more into experiences than material things, Richard populates a lot of his diary with days out. He loves to go to the cricket and the rugby and tries and take his two young sons along as much as possible though, like many parents, he’s not sure he’d encourage them into his own world… “It’s too expensive!”.

A Tusting customer, how does Richard get along with his bags?

Richard uses two of our Explorer bags regularly, deploying them for trips to the gym and whenever he travels (at least once a week), so they see a lot of action. Pictured here in 2017 on their first trip out, he values his Tusting bags for their durability and enjoys that they look after themselves whilst still being stylish.

“Luggage says a lot about you… when you see someone with luggage, you are often seeing them for the first time, so I look for something that is stylish and says something about you, that you’re a smart and well-put-together person.”

And what would Richard have his eye on next? When in London, Richard bases himself at the Royal Automobile Club where he can leave his bags and head out to meetings – a Folio would be the ideal accessory to take papers and laptop without being encumbered by something bigger.

Finally, what does the rest of 2023 hold for Richard?

Other than the historic racing, a holiday with the family to the South of France, watching the rest of the Ashes and enjoying the summer. On the work front, his agency is organising an extraordinary event in Cardiff in September in which they will take over the Millenium Stadium to stage the Speedway Grand Prix. It involves lifting the pitch and putting down a speedway track – a project which involves moving over 200 lorryloads of stone; it’s an exciting undertaking. As far as the motorsport industry goes, there’s barely any off-season now, so work is busy almost all year.

And even though it’s recreation, that competitive trait comes through as Richard says he’d love to finish in the top three in the Historic Formula Ford 2000 Championship… “that would be amazing”, he says, but we have a feeling it’s not too unlikely at all…

To find out more about Mayfield Sport Management, click here.

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